Snowshoe hiking for beginners – tips on equipment, technique & tours

What could be better than exploring Winter Wonderland on foot?? An increasingly popular way of getting around in the snow is snowshoeing. The big advantage of snowshoes is that your weight is distributed over a larger area and you won't sink even in deep snow. Even in winter, it is possible to walk on trails that have not been cleared or even on open terrain. We have already strapped the snowshoes to our feet several times and tested the new trend sport. So much in advance: snowshoeing can really anyone! Therefore, we have summarized here a few tips for beginners on equipment, technique and tour planning for snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing – How to do it?

snowshoes are usually made of a larger aluminum or plastic frame. In the middle there is a movable binding plate with two to three prongs in the front by the toes. The snowshoes are simply attached to the hiking boots with the help of the binding. Waterproof, high hiking boots with a firm sole are the best choice.

Basically, walking with snowshoes in flat or slightly hilly terrain does not differ from normal walking. You may need to take slightly wider steps. However, if you are going uphill a bit steeper, you can use the sog. Activate "climbing aid": a small bar at the back of the snowshoe that you can fold up at the heel. When walking uphill, the front of the snowshoes also hooks into the snow and gives you additional grip. If it gets even steeper, you can walk uphill in a V-step or using the side stair climbing technique.

When going downhill, it is quite possible that you will start to slip. Don't panic, it's intentional: the further you lean back, the better you can slide with the snowshoes. However, this technique cannot be compared to skiing. You should also be careful not to slip backwards and injure yourself. If you are not comfortable with this technique, it is better to bend your knees and lean forward so that the prongs provide a secure grip.

You will learn the technique of snowshoeing on your own after the first few meters and it hardly differs from normal walking. The only requirement you should bring is a good physical condition and a good knowledge of alpine hazards. We recommend beginners to start first on marked winter trails. Snowshoeing is definitely more strenuous than normal hiking and you are also slower on the way.

Equipment for snowshoeing

Here is a small packing or. Equipment list for your first snowshoe tour:

  • Snowshoes (can also be rented)
  • Waterproof and high hiking boots
  • Thick socks
  • Hiking or ski poles (optionally with a large plate)
  • Warm pants
  • Gloves
  • Large backpack to store the snowshoes inside or outside
  • Possibly a change of clothes or onion look

Where and how to find snowshoe tours?

If you are walking in alpine terrain, it is imperative that you check the avalanche danger on site. For beginners, we recommend either guided snowshoe tours, easier tours or winter hiking trails.

The snow should be at least 20-30cm high for a snowshoe tour and preferably not yet too compacted. In rocky terrain or too little snow it is better to take off the snowshoes again to protect them from wear and tear.

It is often not so easy to find winter hiking trails. Here are a few tips:

  • At Outdooractive you can find many winter hiking trails or even snowshoe tours. To find these easily, you can also filter by them.
  • Just call the nearest tourist office and get information about winter hiking trails or snowshoe tours. They can also give you information about the current avalanche danger and the passability of the paths.
  • Many winter sports hotels can also give you information about possible tours.

As an advanced snowshoe hiker or experienced alpinist, you can also be away from secured routes. But never underestimate the danger of avalanches. No matter if you are a beginner or a professional: It is recommended not to travel alone and to plan enough time for the tours.

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